“Here comes the argument ” howls Fugazi guitarist and singer Ian Mackaye. The understatement is sharp and accurate. Fugazi”s latest full-length bristles like a wire brush to scrub your assumptions, scratch up your apathy and reveal a better, brighter surface underneath the music industry.
For those of you who you who still say, “Fugazi”s that political band, right?” let me clarify. Fucked Up Got Ambushed Zipped In is Vietnam slang, that is a less “Tango and Cash” way of saying “FUBAR.” For those of who are unaware that Fugazi is on an independent record label, has never made a video, has never made a T-shirt, has never charged more than $6 for a show, and has been doing this for 13 years well, that is the case. And for those of you who are saying, “Wait. I”ve seen Fugazi T-shirts before.” Consider the band”s lyric, “It”s time to harvest the crust from your eyes.”
Fugazi confounds the corporate rock industry. But forget about their “politics,” all of that exists to protect the music. Thus, The Argument is 10 tracks of charged, daring and even groovy rock. Renowned for their energy and anthems, The Argument proves that Fugazi can also be found to exist in a beautiful groove. The vibrating karma of “Nightshop” or the stormy dynamics of “Oh,” head straight for your pulse and massage you with rhythm.
Although the band has always intentionally pushed their sound, The Argument continues down the more experimental path begun on 1995″s Red Medicine. Fugazi has always been known as having intense guitar work, exploding and crashing on a jazzy bass and drum section. On this album, that configuration seems to be reversing itself. The Argument marks the first studio appearance of longtime roadie and live co-drummer, Jerry Bushell. That”s right, Fugazi sometimes uses two drummers live, simultaneously. In other words, Fugazi is playing “rock” music where the guitars are “equally” sharing the stage with the bass and drums. Think about that for a second.
Like Dylan, the beauty of Fugazi is that they sing about ideas, without being “preachy.” It enlightens you with songs about injustice, inequality and basic humanity without the posturing or the didactic hypocrisy of Rage Against the Machine. In “Cashout,” Mackaye laments that real estate brokers (like in Ann Arbor) are always increasing the rent, so to get more wealthier people into their properties, which then increases the property value, screws poor people and legitimizes the ever-increasing rent cycle without it sounding like a “personal” tirade.
It is, in fact, the layers, the grooves, and the “truth” of The Argument that will convince you.